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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 17:58 GMT
Health consultation to be delayed
A demonstration at Llanidloes hospital
Up to 1,000 recently demonstrated outside Llanidloes hospital
Health chiefs have decided to delay a public consultation process into the future of four hospitals in Powys.

It was to have started in January, but will now be staged between September and November next year.

Powys Local Health Board (LHB) said an assembly government announcement about hospitals next month had forced it to delay the process.

The LHB faces a 3.5m deficit and is proposing cuts at Llanidloes, Knighton, Bronllys and Builth Wells hospitals.

The plans to cut hospital services have been met with fierce criticism by people in Powys. Several public meetings and demonstrations have been staged.

Powys LHB now plans to run the consultation process between September until November 2007. It expects its changes to be implemented in April 2008.

A spokeswoman for the local health board said: "Revising the implementation timetable for {the consultation} Doing More, Doing Better provides both opportunities and challenges for the local health board.

Delay consultation

"Extending the period through which proposals for consideration by the board can be developed allows substantially increased time for engaging with partners in developing these proposals."

The spokeswoman added that the board continued to find it difficult to sustain some of its services because of staffing and safety concerns.

Plans to delay consultation emerged earlier this month after the chief executive of the NHS in Wales, Ann Lloyd, met with Powys LHB chief executive Andy Williams.

At the time, an assembly government spokesman said an announcement about the future of community hospitals could force the LHB to amend its changes to the NHS in Powys, and therefore delay consultation.

Conservative Mid and West Wales AM Glyn Davies said he was pleased consultation had been deferred.




SEE ALSO
Bed-push GPs join health protest
22 Nov 06 |  Mid Wales
Town fights hospital service cuts
17 Nov 06 |  Mid Wales
Hospital consultation faces delay
03 Nov 06 |  Mid Wales
Action group stages hospital demo
28 Oct 06 |  Mid Wales
Health chiefs opt to cut services
27 Sep 06 |  Mid Wales

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